This video will hand hold you in becoming a Wildlife Photographer!
For anyone who is passionate about wildlife and decided to do wildlife photography, the first question which comes to mind is how to start wildlife photography? You will be filled with passion and interest on wildlife photography but absolutely clueless in terms of where to start? How about we discuss on each step you need to take towards becoming a wildlife photographer?
In this video, I am going to explain the key steps involved in starting your wildlife photography journey.
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1. Decide on the category of wildlife photography
You may even think I’ve already decided to do wildlife photography why I need to decide the category? but even within wildlife photography there are multiple categories of photography are there. To name few – photography of mammals, macro photography, bird photography, etc. There is nothing wrong in doing all of them but the reason why I want you to choose a category to start with is, because the camera and lens requirement for each of these category of wildlife photography is very different. So to ensure you buy your first kit which suits you the best it is much needed that you decide the category you want to start with. Within the wildlife photography, if you are not still clear where your real passion lies, I would suggest you to accompany some of the existing wildlife photographers in your network and
shadow them on field; also spend sometime in the internet browsing through the work of different photographers in these category of wildlife photography. So by the end of this step you would have decided in which category of photography you are going to start your wildlife journey and then you move to the next step.
I highly recommend that you start with a category of wildlife photography you like the most, master it and then try other categories.
2. Learn the Basics of Wildlife Photography
You need to put your effort to learn the basics of wildlife photography. This learning is not specific to any category within wildlife photography but an overall understanding of nuances in wildlife photography and wildlife photography equipment. Please keep in mind the more time you spend on this the more you are delaying yourself to get onto the field. So, the point here is you should learn the basics alone pretty fast that is say within a maximum of 1 to 2 weeks, learn the rest on the run and It is very much possible. By end of this step, you will know about cameras, camera modes, ISO, shutter speed, aperture, exposure, metering, focus points and other key things within wildlife photography. This is what I will be teaching you in the channel as well in the coming weeks.
3. Buy your Camera and Lens
This is a key milestone in your wildlife journey. Getting your first wildlife camera is a memory which you will cherish for your entire life. So, to make this a good memory for you, you need to do a research on the camera and lens you are going to buy. Once you narrow down the top three or five different cameras and lenses which suit you, you can even reach out to the other wildlife photographers who are doing photography for years for a second opinion. But My recommendation is just rent it for few days and try it yourself before investing your money and I also recommend you to buy camera and lens only through authorised offline retailers of the brand.
4. Ice-Breaking Session with your Camera and Lens
I am sure you know what is an ice breaking session; it is a session followed in organisations for the new people who joined their organisation to get to know each other. Unfortunately, since your camera and lens cannot talk with you, the only way you can have an ice breaking session with your kit is by reading the manual. If you couldn’t understand the terms in the manual, I am really sorry you have to go back to step number 2 and learn the basics again. Your mentor is equally responsible for this rework. Ha ha.. just kidding.
Unless you know your camera well, you can never execute wildlife photography as you wish in your mind.
5. First Date with your Camera
It is a very special day, the first day with your camera on the field. Leaving your brand new camera and lens more than a day at home is a sin. Ensure the first day you get to know about your camera and the second day you are on field with the camera. My recommended location for the first date with your camera is your backyard or a nearby lake or a zoo which is nearby. The reason why I am suggesting to go to these places is, they don’t cost you anything and you can spend the time you want without any rush. Please don’t expect that by day 1 on field you will get all the desired output as you wish. Things may not work out exactly the way you have expected. You may end up having many more questions on wildlife photography. You may even feel your first camera is not good. But you have to keep yourself motivated and complete the full day on field taking hundreds of images and return home with hundreds of questions. That’s fine. The next few days you will have to find answers to all those questions by referring back to basics or by talking to your mentor. You have to keep repeating this step for everyday for atleast 10 days on field.
6. Learn Basics of Post Processing
Next step is to learn the basics of post processing. First, you need to decide which software or tool you are going to use for post processing your images. Equal to knowing about how to take an image, it is important that you know how to post process your image as well. Trust me here, learning post processing is not that tough as it is being projected. It is much easier than working on your cell phone. Part of this basics of post processing, you should learn all the different parameters which you can control in a post processing workflow. I will be sharing post processing work flow as well post processing mobile apps in the channel in the coming weeks.
7. Make your social presence
Though it is absolutely optional to have a social presence. I would recommend to have a social profile where you can showcase your wildlife work. There are many platforms available but I would suggest you can limit yourself to a maximum of 3 platforms to showcase your work unless you are doing it commercially. Ensure that you spend more time on the field doing wildlife photography and not on social media.
8. Complete your Full Kit
It is time you make your kit complete. You should now buy all the accessories which would complete your wildlife photography kit. This would include tripod, monopod, camera rest, covers, raincoat, cleaning kit, weather protector, camera bag, lens cap, memory card, etc. Any questions on these, please post to me in the comment section.
9. Make a Travel Plan
Now that your kit is ready and you are ready as well, you can now plan for your first wildlife travel. Again you may get into a road block – where to go? which is the good place? who is the best naturalist? how much it will cost me? what and all I should take with me? how to plan my safari? which zones are good? which is the right time to visit? Now, you need to find answers to all these questions part of your travel plan. There are hundreds of wildlife destinations you can visit for wildlife photography and it is impossible for me to cover everything here but if you have specific questions on a destination, you can post on the comment section. You need to to do a search on Google and also talk with a lot of people to finalise your itinerary.
10. Get onto field and kick start your wildlife journey
What an exciting time, you are on your first wildlife trip. This is the time you need to put it all what you have learnt till now in action. Please keep in mind none of the moments you encounter in the wild will repeat itself. This is the time all your skills will be tested. Initially you may have to remember each and every step and execute to capture a beautiful wildlife moment and it could be a little tough but as you keep doing this again and again, you will develop your muscle memory; you would start doing wildlife photography at ease and that’s the reason you have to be on field at least once every month.
Welcome on board! Share Network and Learn.
You are a wildlife photographer now! Looking forward to meet you some day on the field.